August 20, 2016

"As I learned more about the legal profession, I realized it wasn’t a good fit for my personality."

"I’m not the sort of person who feels comfortable winning when it means the other side loses something of equal or greater value. I’d feel even worse if I were to win a victory for my client that was ill deserved and accomplished only through my weasel-tastic skills. I had been raised to decline offers of candy from family friends under the theory that I had done nothing to deserve it. I was the kind of person who needed a job that made other people happy, ideally with a side benefit of making me rich and famous too."

From Scott Adams, "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life" (p. 39).

"An 'introvert' hangover is a pretty terrible thing to experience. It starts with an actual physical reaction to overstimulation."

"Your ears might ring, your eyes start to blur, and you feel like you’re going to hyperventilate. Maybe your palms sweat. And then your mind feels like it kind of shuts down, building barriers around itself as if you had been driving on a wide open road, and now you’re suddenly driving in a narrow tunnel. All you want is to be at home, alone, where it’s quiet...."

"He said people who are here is the toughest part of the immigration debate, that it must be something that respects border security..."

"... but deals with this in a humane and efficient manner... The idea is we’re not getting someone in front of the line, we’re doing it in a legal way, but he wants to hear ideas of how we deal with 11 million people that are here with no documents."

He's full of surprises. Watch out for Nice Trump. What will Hillary do if Nice Trump arrives on the scene?

Cyclist's wildlife encounter...

"What do you have to lose?"

Trump argument in the form of a question to black voters.

It's memorable and outrageous and irritating enough to tempt opponents into a place they may end up not liking.

The problem of using material from "Idiocracy" in an anti-Trump ad.

Yes, the Donald Trump phenomenon feels like "Idiocracy" to a lot of people, but who owns that material? Not Etan Cohen, who wrote it, or his collaborator Mike Judge, and not Terry Crews, the actor who plays the President in the movie, but 20th Century Fox.

If you were the decisionmaker at 20th Century Fox, would you agree to letting that material be used in a partisan political ad? Even if you were opposed to Trump, it's not a good idea. Who are the continuing fans of that movie? I'll bet a lot of them are Trump supporters. And the movie stands on its own as a timeless critique of American culture and politics. It's bad to capture that value and channel it into something transitory and partisan.

Anyway, The Daily Beast quotes Mike Judge complaining:
“It kind of fell apart.... It was announced that [the ads] were anti-Trump, and I would’ve preferred to make them and then have the people decide. Terry Crews had wanted to just make some funny Camacho ads, and Etan [Cohen] and I had written a few that I thought were pretty funny, and it just fell apart. I wanted to put them out a little more quietly and let them go viral, rather than people announcing we’re making anti-Trump ads. Just let them be funny first. Doing something satirical like that is better if you just don’t say, ‘Here we come with the anti-Trump ads!’ Also, when Terry heard that announcement he wasn’t happy about it."
Of course, talking to The Daily Beast is creating virality. This ad is available there. I've watched it.

By the way, the text at The Daily Beast does not support its headline: "‘Idiocracy’ Director Mike Judge: Fox Killed Our Anti-Trump Camacho Ads." Judge doesn't say that! And Fox — the movie division (not even Fox News) — didn't nix the ads.

Judge is only saying they gave up when the viral approach was blown by an open announcement that they are anti-Trump. I wonder what really happened. He seems to still be trying to get the ad in circulation, so respect for rights owned by 20th Century Fox doesn't seem to be such a big consideration. Talking about the rights may be a device to give 20th Century Fox separation from the ad project. And that announcement Judge purports to be upset about: Maybe he chose to do that to make sure no one would misread it as pro-Trump. Once that's nailed down, it's time to send this thing out into the world with Judge, Cohen, and Crews sort of posing as victims — or so I suspect.

The fact is that the ad isn't really that good. What does it really say about Trump? If you don't know the movie too well, the use of a very buffoonish black man to make a statement is open to all sorts of interpretation and the potential for offense is great. Are they trying to say Trump is bad because he reminds them of a clownish, hyper-masculine black man? And why is the black man getting used as a means to an end?

How will you celebrate...

... Bill Clinton's 70th birthday?

"All I feel is myself annoying myself because I'm breathing on myself."

Testing the "Aluminum Spa for Face":

The product exists and can be bought right now on Amazon, either for $12.58 or $76.00. Bunny said she paid something like $26. Maybe it's Japanese currency manipulation. I don't know how that works. But does Aluminum Spa for Face work? Watch the video!

"2 cheers for all the tears of my manservants."

"NPR Deletes Comments, Says Commenters Are Too Old And Male."

That is about the angle I was thinking of taking if I could ever slog through NPR's lengthy explanation. I was, essentially, bored out of critiquing NPR.

August 19, 2016

"Hillary Clinton talks more like a man than she used to."

Headline at the Washington Post (illustrated by a photo of Hillary doing that gaping maw laugh, which men don't do). From the article:
Women rarely act “like women” to achieve power and influence in politics. Women aspiring toward political leadership are more often expected to adopt masculine styles of behavior in order to get their points across...

My analysis of Clinton’s rhetoric draws on research conducted by psychologist James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin. Pennebaker and his colleagues have discovered that men and women tend to speak differently — not necessarily in the content or topics of their conversations, but in the use of seemingly unremarkable “function words,” such as pronouns and prepositions...

In general, women tend to use pronouns (you, theirs), and especially first-person singular pronouns (I, me), more frequently than men. They also use common verbs and auxiliary verbs (is, has, be, go), social (friend, talk), emotional (relieved, safe, kind), cognitive (think, because), and tentative (guess, maybe) words at higher rates than men.

Men, on the other hand, tend to use first-person plural words (the royal “we”), articles (a, an, the), prepositions (of, to, under), big words (over six letters), words associated with anger (destroy, kill), and swear words ([redacted]) more frequently than women....
Well, fuck.

"I really like humble Trump, and that’s what I saw last night. That’s the father I know. And here’s a man who’s not a politician..."

"... he’s not a PC guy either, and he has run on not being politically correct and every single day he’s out there giving speeches. He has strayed, and he admitted it last night. When he said it last night, the audience went crazy. It’s cool that he toned it back. It was really neat that he did that.”

Said Eric Trump.

"When future historians write about us... we will undoubtedly stand alone among nations and be known forevermore as 'THOSE WHO CHOSE CHEESE.'"

"Our mental health has been in a semi-wretched condition for quite some time now. One of the reasons for this distress, aside from CHOOSING CHEESE as a way of life, is the fact that we have (against some incredibly stiff competition) emerged victorious as the biggest bunch of liars on the face of the planet. No society has managed to invest more time and energy in the perpetuation of the fiction that it is moral, sane, and wholesome than our current crop of Modern Americans. This same delusion is the Mysterious Force behind our national desire to avoid behaving in any way that might be construed as INTELLIGENT. Modern Americans behave as if intelligence were some sort of hideous deformity. To cosmeticize it, many otherwise normal citizens attempt a peculiar type of self-inflicted homemade mental nose-job (designed to lower the recipient's socio-intellectual profile to the point where the ability to communicate on the most mongolian level provides the necessary certification to become ONE OF THE GUYS). Let's face it... nobody wants to hang out with someone who is smarter than they are. This is not FUN."

From an essay for Newsweek magazine, written by Frank Zappa, that became liner notes on the album "You Are What You Is" after Newsweek rejected it as too "idiosyncratic," and that I became aware of when it was quoted in the movie "Eat That Question," which I saw last night. I took notes so I could remember a few bloggable things, and my note for this just says "Cheese as a way of life." You can find the whole essay here.

I feel powerfully motivated to censor the word "mongolian" from that passage or cut it short before getting to that, but instead I'll embed this incredibly politically incorrect song — also featured in the movie (we're told it was a big hit in Norway) — "Bobby Brown Goes Down":

(Lyrics here, in case you don't believe your ears or don't want to trouble yourself with listening.)

Manafort quits.

"This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign... I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success."

"For most of the last year, we have seen endless hand-wringing in the news media about how crude Donald Trump is..."

"But it seems obvious to me that it is Trump’s enemies, far more than Trump, who have gone into the gutter and, to a degree that may be unprecedented, coarsened our political life," writes John Hinderaker at Power Line, on the occasion of that naked Donald Trump statues that stood in 5 American cities yesterday. "When it comes to crude, beyond the pale attacks, Donald Trump is far more often the victim than the aggressor," Hinderaker concludes.

I agree that there is more crudeness in the attacks on Trump than coming from Trump himself. However:

1. Parallelism seems to demand that we compare what Trump himself says to what the another candidate says. If we want to look at what people other than candidates are saying about Trump, we should compare it not just to what Trump says, but to what his supporters say and to what everyone who hates Hillary says — including speech in the form of sculpture and drawings and paintings. There's some pretty crude stuff out there.

2. And shouldn't there be crude attacks on political candidates, in words and in graphic depictions? This is a grand tradition! I celebrate it. I'm thinking of Daumier's Gargantua...

Daumier went to prison for that. And I'm thinking of David Levine's Henry Kissinger:

3. The brutality is already there in politics, so we should have the words and pictures to express it. Here's Frank Zappa saying that on "Crossfire" in 1986:

"[Brutality] is already in politics. I think if you use the so-called strong words, you get your point across faster and you can save a lot of beating around the bush. Why are people afraid of words?" (And note that Donald Trump just yesterday was defending his style of speech as a way to save time: The important thing is to get to the truth and being too careful and polite "takes far too much time.")

A New Yorker article that begins "A year ago, I lost my best friend, Oliver Sacks" uses Sacks as a way to attack Donald Trump.

Any other dead heroes we could dig up to opine on the transitory politics of the day?

Jeez, this is disgusting. I loved — I love — Oliver Sacks. I'm very sad he's gone, and I wanted to share that feeling with the writer of what looks like a sensitive piece on the wonderful author. The title is "A YEAR WITHOUT OLIVER SACKS" and we see a photo of Sacks — standing in a city rooftop garden — with the caption "Oliver Sacks’ greatest gift was sensitivity—seeing, feeling, and sketching what the rest of us had never even noticed."

Okay, yes... sensitivity... that greatest gift... and then the name "Trump" — why???!! — appears in the first paragraph:
For many years, each week, Oliver and I would cruise north on the West Side bike path at sunrise. Alone, our bicycles a few inches apart, we spoke about everything and anything, but mostly about interesting patients, natural history, and food. His voice was soft, and I struggled to hear his words. But his volume and pedalling cadence always accelerated when the massive TRUMP PLACE buildings appeared to our right. He detested the giant protuberances that unpleasantly punctuated the view from our bike seats, and often cursed them.
So... he didn't like big buildings? But you've got him cursing the capitalized name Trump. Did you stop there, you trusted friend of the ultra-sensitive writer? No. We also have, after some nice anecdotes:
He would have been crushed by the rise of Donald Trump and the electoral success of Brexit. Intolerance and fear-mongering, he knew, are rudders that steer societies in dangerous directions....
You admire his sensitivity and then instead of respecting it, and leaving him with only what he actually thought and wrote and said, you — the "you" is  Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center — appropriate it as a platform for your own political opinions.

I read Oliver Sacks's memoir, "On the Move: A Life," and he showed strikingly little interest in politics. Here's the closest I can come to finding something political in that book:
I did not seek American citizenship and was happy to have a green card, to be accounted a “resident alien.” This accorded with how I felt, at least for much of the time— a friendly, observant alien noting everything around me but without civic responsibilities such as voting or jury duty or need to affiliate myself with the country’s policies or politics.
That's the politics of being nonpolitical. I appreciate that and I know what he means. I have that feeling too — a friendly, observant alien noting everything around me.... Well, maybe not always so friendly.

"We can be assured that a TBN (Trump Breitbart News) Network wouldn’t shy away from the conservative, or even the 'alt-conservative,' label."

"It would be nationalistic, xenophobic, and conspiratorial. If it featured regular appearances by Trump, and if it managed to poach some of the Fox News stars who are friendly toward him, such as Sean Hannity, it might even make money."

Says John Cassidy, at The New Yorker, about — speaking of conspiratoriality — what is "only a conspiracy theory."

I've been thinking about the same subject, and I go in a different direction.

First, I don't think it would be called Trump Breitbart News. Trump isn't going to share billing with Breitbart. It will be Trump, just like Bloomberg is Bloomberg and just like the way Trump has put his name — which he obviously loves as a vivid, punchy brand — on all sorts of buildings and merchandise.

Second, I don't think Trump would want to just make some money and to do it looking backward at Fox.I think he'd want something forward-looking and surprising and highly profitable.

Now, it's feeling like a challenge on an episode of "The Apprentice" and Cassidy looks like a member of the losing team.

I don't know if I'd be on the winning team, but here are some things I said on the topic in a discussion thread on Facebook:
If this thing happens I don't think it will be "right wing media." I think these people -- including Trump's children, who are not right wing (I don't think) -- will figure out a way to be very successful by providing a new mix, and it will include some very progressive things -- pro-gay, pro-woman, and some serious class politics....

Who would you put on? I'd like to see Scott Adams have his own show.

"Once the folks at The New Yorker learned of Althouse's callout, the conversation among those involved might have gone like this...."

Tom Blumer at NewsBusters imagines the scene at The New Yorker after its editors read my post telling them that "libtard" wasn't "Rush Limbaugh's favorite epithet" — as stated in Pankaj Mishra's "How Rousseau Predicted Trump." I knew from listening to the show that it wasn't his favorite epithet, and I found out from searching his archive that he never used the word.

Excerpt from the imagined dialogue:
Fact Checker 2: Well, we haven't found any examples yet, so we're already in trouble with your claim that it's his favorite. Our best hope is to try to do what Althouse did. Mishra, search his archives.  I'm sure you'll find at least a few "libtard" uses, and we can get this pesky harpy off our backs by deleting the word "favorite" from your essay....

Mishra: ... Wait a minute, his archive is available only to subscribers for $50 a year. What, people pay for this garbage? I'm not giving that racist, homophobic, sexist bigoted wingnut any of my money!...
I must say, I get uneasy reading even what is clearly marked as imagined dialogue. I don't know that Mishra would call Limbaugh a "racist, homophobic, sexist bigoted wingnut." It's funny to attribute words to a real person for comic effect, but in this case it's so close to the original problem — attributing "libtard" to Rush Limbaugh. I'm saying this here not to call out Blumer — I think the comic spoofing is good — but to show you the strength of my instinct to protect individuals from false statements. This is a justified and humorous effort at figuring out how people — powerful people in media — would have thought about a real problem they faced.
Mishra: Rather than get our hands dirty and commit the crime against humanity of sending Limbaugh money, let's just assume Althouse is right and note at the very end of the online version that "An earlier version of this article erroneously connected the epithet 'libtard' with the radio host Rush Limbaugh." With that language, some readers will still think that he uses the word from time to time.

Fact Checker 2: Then we'll put the correction in tiny letters in a small corner in the next print edition.

August 18, 2016

"Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that."

"And believe it or not, I regret it. And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. But one thing I can promise you, is this: I will always tell you the truth."

Said Donald Trump in a speech today.

ADDED: The full text and video of the speech are here. A few more excerpts. Here's the paragraph just before what I've quoted above:
As you know, I am not a politician. I have worked in business, creating jobs and rebuilding neighborhoods my entire adult life. I’ve never wanted to learn the language of the insiders, and I’ve never been politically correct – it takes far too much time, and can often make more difficult.
That is, even as he's regretting some of the words that have come out of him, he's offering an explanation for why those words happened and refusing to change the conditions that made them possible. It's the price you pay for a direct, clear-speaking non-politician, and it's worth it.

After not going to the movies all year, I finally got out and saw something.

On the theory that it might amuse you to guess what might have finally motivated me to commit to sitting through a movie in the theater, I won't say what it was just yet.

ADDED: Irene got it. 

"Maybe it was his haircut, long and floppy up top; or his rumpled T-shirt showing the Nickelodeon cartoon character CatDog..."

"... or his tentative, confused movements in a widely circulated video — gestures familiar to anyone who has loved a child. Or the instant and inescapable question of whether a parent was left alive to give him a hug."

ADDED: I'm giving this post the "using children in politics" tag, even though it's not quite what I have meant by it in the past. But the commenter HoodlumDoodlum said "This blog usually opposes the use of children to make political points or advance some cause." I responded:
This isn't a case of people putting children in political ads or having children carry signs in protests.

The photographer got in there to take the picture and the usefulness of the picture was perceived after the fact and largely occurred through viral sharing as it affected people.

That is propaganda but the child is real and no one chose to put that child in that condition. I think it's important not to look away from reality.

The death of Gawker.

Announced here, with prime blame laid on "the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel" and "his clandestine legal campaign against the company."

Ah, well. I remember Gawker from the Elizabeth Spiers days, that is, the year 2003. Loved it.

Where is she now? I had to look it up. Here Wikipedia page says she's editor of The New York Observer. You know what The New York Observer is? It's Jared Kusher's publication. But Wikipedia's page for The New York Observer says she was only editor 2011 to 2012. Is Spiers so unimportant that her Wikipedia page isn't updated in 4 years?!

Well, here's a little piece from this morning: "A eulogy for from its first editor, Elizabeth Spiers/Plus: What it’s like working for Donald Trump’s son-in-law":
Spiers recalled that started as a completely different sort of site from what it is today.

"There have been so many incarnations of Gawker," Spiers said. "If you read it when I was writing it, it wasn’t really negative — it was gleefully laughing at the notion that the entire world revolves around New York. The alter-ego voice I was using was a persona that had no self-awareness, and that was part of the fun of it."
I still don't know what she's doing now, and I don't know what she said about Kushner. The link goes to a podcast, and I haven't listened to it yet. I've only read the text. 

ADDED: The text does give Spiers new line of work: "founder the virtual reality agency The Insurrection."

"In this city, there’s a lot of killings going on in the street. He was afraid for his life. He was concerned about his safety and surviving."

Said the grandfather of Sylville Smith, the man shot to death by a police officer in Milwaukee last week.

I'm sympathetic to those who feel a need to carry a gun for self-defense. But it doesn't explain pointing the gun at the cop, which is what we're told the body cam shows Smith doing — not unless the grandfather meant to refer to a fear that the police were the danger to his life. Pointing a gun at a police officer is not a good way to try to preserve your life, but a person can make a bad decision, and I don't know what Sylville Smith had heard and come to believe in his short life. I do know the bad information that was spread when he died in the community where he absorbed his idea of reality.

"But what’s surprising about Trump’s strategy of racial provocation is that African-Americans have played a relatively small role in it."

When people call Trump racist, they are often thinking primarily of incidents... in which he has singled out Latino immigrants and their descendants. They are often thinking, too, about Trump’s series of remarks about Muslims... Or, for that matter, his portrayal of China as a menacing threat... But these days a wide range of prejudices are commonly subsumed within the expansive term “racism”; you might call a politician “racist” without meaning (at least not exclusively, or even primarily) that he is anti-black....

In general, though, Trump has had relatively little to say about African-Americans during this campaign. In December, he criticized Justice Antonin Scalia, who had suggested, during a hearing, that affirmative action might harm some African-American students by steering them toward colleges that are “too fast for them” when they might be better off at “a less advanced school—a slower-track school.” Trump seemed genuinely offended. “I thought his remarks were very tough,” he said. “I don’t like what he said.”...

Was Trump’s criticism of Scalia part of a grand plan to win over African-American voters? Perhaps not. One of Trump’s greatest political strengths is that very little of what he says sounds like the product of political calculation. (Of course, this, too, is one of his greatest political weaknesses.)...
Sanneh ends by wondering why Trump nevertheless polls so badly with African-Americans and posits the obvious: the Democratic Party has a tight grip on this voting bloc and Trump "has acquired a reputation as a racist."
Does it make a difference to black voters that this reputation has mainly to do with things he has said about Muslims and Mexicans? Or that he finds ways to talk of African-Americans as part of a threatened “we,” and not part of a threatening “them”? 
Apparently not.

ADDED: In the NYT, there's Charles M. Blow with "Why Blacks Loathe Trump." The most interesting thing in the way Blow made a show of his knowledge of the connection between black people and Islam but then had to do a correction:
[Trump] has scandalously maligned Muslims, apparently not realizing that it’s estimated that approximately one-fourth of the 3.3 million Muslims in this country are African-American. Indeed, the Muslim faith has deep roots in the black community because many Africans brought to this country as slaves were Muslims. The signs are everywhere. For instance, I spent my earliest years in the rural community of Kiblah, Ark., an area homesteaded by former slaves following the Emancipation Proclamation. In Arabic, kiblah is the direction in which Muslims pray toward Mecca....

Correction: August 18, 2016

An earlier version of this article imprecisely referred to the word “kiblah.” It is the direction in which Muslims pray toward Mecca and not derived from the word “ka’aba.”

"Neville... feels that he has unlocked a mystery of the human mind which could signal a revolution in policing."

"He is frustrated when he encounters skepticism, as if he were claiming to have discovered officers with telepathy or E.S.P., and he feels a nagging suspicion that had he written an algorithm instead the brass would be rushing to embrace it. 'People don’t want to believe that humans could be better than a machine,' he told me. 'And the sad truth in this wicked world we live in is that people don’t want to pay a human. They want to buy a machine.'"

The end of an excellent New Yorker article by Patrick Radden Keefe, "THE DETECTIVES WHO NEVER FORGET A FACE/London’s new squad of 'super-recognizers' could inspire a revolution in policing."

"The American swimmers who claimed they were assaulted at gunpoint over the weekend by assailants posing as police officers fabricated their account of the episode..."

"... according to Brazilian investigators...."
At the gas station, which is in Barra da Tijuca, on the route to the athletes’ village, the swimmers went to the bathroom. In the process, according to the account by investigators, damage was done to the bathroom door and a discussion ensued with the manager and a security guard.

Someone at the gas station called the police, but by the time a police car arrived at the scene, the swimmers were gone. Witnesses, including a person who offered to translate for the swimmers, said that they paid money to the manager before leaving....

“This incident has caused so much damage to Rio’s brand abroad that I think Brazilians deserve a clear, consistent account of what happened,” said Brian Winter, vice president for policy at Americas Society and Council of the Americas.

The entire episode, Winter said, “has tapped into one of Brazilians’ biggest pet peeves — gringos who treat their country like a third-rate spring break destination where you can lie to the cops and get away with it.”
ADDED: Security camera footage.

Competitive dorm room decoration at Ole Miss.

Nice pictures at NY Magazine with the pissy headline "How Long Until These Roommates With a Fancy Dorm Room Hate Each Other?"

This is the one that's gone viral:

A photo posted by Abby Bozeman (@abbyboze) on

"Amy Schumer Comes Out ‘Against’ Writer Kurt Metzger’s Comments on Rape, But Metzger Says She Only Did Because He ‘Told Her To.'"

This is a bit complicated — and it relates to the trouble you can get into if you talk about certain things the wrong way — so go over there and read it.

I'm seeing a use for this for someone who travels or goes about town with a child who walks too slow but would find this fun...

... and would, for the first time, do the work of carrying your stuff for you. I see too many kids relegated to strollers — crowded into a cramped vehicle, resigned to the woefully passive position he's been put in because of his physical and mental limitations.

Motorized, rideable luggage is being mocked (rightly) for its video showing serious adults using it:

Aaaaah! Moss might be Maass, the apparent Republican in a possible plot against Russ Feingold.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story:
An apparent Republican activist tried to join Democrat Russ Feingold’s team this week in what Feingold’s campaign suspects was a plot to dig up dirt on him.

In an interview with Feingold staff on Wednesday, she initially said she wanted to work on issues affecting women’s health care and unions, but clammed up when confronted about whether she had worked for conservatives and tried to infiltrate Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Iowa last year....

The woman signed up to be a volunteer as Allison Moss on Tuesday, but was let go Wednesday after the Feingold campaign asked her if she was actually Allison Maass. Maass is a writer with Campus Reform, a project of the conservative Leadership Institute aimed at exposing liberal bias at universities....
Why change your name only just that much — Maass to Moss? Perhaps it is inherent in the nature of moss, not to change much, which is why very reactionary conservatives are called mossbacks
Mossback..seems to have originated in the swamps of North Carolina, where a particular class of the poor whites were said to have lived among the cypress until the moss had grown on their backs.
ADDED: A bit more information at Yahoo News, with references to Project Veritas, (the James O’Keefe operation) and the spokesman's statement: “Regarding the person you named below, Project Veritas will neither provide nor confirm the identity of any of our undercover journalists, real or imagined."

We were just talking about the ethics of undercover journalism the other day — after a Daily Beast writer did a story on gay male athletes at the Olympics. So check out that post if you are wondering how bad it is for journalists to misrepresent themselves to get a story. I don't know if the Feingold incident — if it was indeed a trick of some kind — was an effort at journalism or some kind of political spying or sabotage.

AND: The Feingold campaign ought to be careful about what it is doing to the real Allison Maass. Here's her page at Campus Reform, where you can see her picture and links to articles she's done. She's a real person: "She is a senior at the University of Minnesota studying professional journalism and graphic design and is Editor-in-Chief of the student publication The Minnesota Republic." Her page links to her Twitter feed, which was only set up this month and has no tweets yet.

"So in other words, a Hillary Clinton presidency could set back the cause of feminism the same way that the Obama presidency set back the cause of racial harmony."

Wrote Chuck in the comments to the first post of the day, the one where I said: "And this is why we can't have good feminism."

I wouldn't say "the same way." I think that's unfair to Obama. What did Obama ever do that set back the cause of racial harmony? Maybe you'll come up with some ideas, but they aren't going to be anything like what Hillary Clinton has done to feminism by siding with her husband and defending him all these years.

The similarity is only that some idealistic, optimistic, and naive people put too much meaning into the symbolism of electing a particular type of person President.

The symbolism leverages radicals who want much more and inspires the original idealists to transform their disappointed dreams into new aspirations toward the good. That happened with Obama and I think it will happen with Hillary. And I think those who have loved Obama and still ache for the beautiful world he inspired may find succor in exaggerating the disappointment in The First Woman President so that it dwarfs the disappointment in The First Black President.

"Worst. Bar graph. Ever."

Via John Althouse Cohen.

"That is the lesson we're inscribing into American history as we create The Story of The First Woman President. "

So I wrote in an afterthought to the previous post. I'm restating it at the top of a new post because I'm reminded of something I've been wanting to say for a while.

I find myself utterly un-thrilled at the prospect of the First Woman President that is Hillary Clinton. Her team presents her as if she's the fulfillment of a lifetime of hoping and dreaming — an especially deep and lovely feeling for older women (like me), whose life stretches back before the successes of the women's movement, who grew up in an America where young girls were not yet encouraged to go for great power and wealth... other than through marriage to a great man or a good enough man that she could make great.

I'm not surprised that a woman with Hillary's talents chose to be the woman behind a man and to support and assist him as he attained greatness. That was the convention, and many women did it. It's what I thought I was modern to reject, circa 1970, when I came of age. The woman could make it on her own, in her own right, in a way that was new and different from the age-old patriarchy.

I remember Ella Grasso:
Former Gov. Ella T. Grasso of Connecticut, the first woman to be elected governor in her own right in the United States, died here today. She was 61 years old....
That's the NYT obituary, dated February 6, 1981. You see the key words: in her own right.
When she was elected Governor in 1974, Mrs. Grasso drew national attention as being in the vanguard of a new era in politics.... [S]he was the first woman to be elected governor who was not the wife or widow of a governor....
There were women governors before Ella Grasso. There was Nellie Tayloe Ross, elected governor of Wyoming, in 1924, after her husband the governor died. And there was Miriam A. Ferguson — Ma Ferguson:
After her husband's impeachment and conviction, Ma Ferguson sought the Democratic nomination for governor, and was elected to office. She told voters that she would follow the advice of her husband and Texas thus would get "two governors for the price of one." A common campaign slogan was, "Me for Ma, and I Ain't Got a Durned Thing Against Pa." Against the odds, Ma Ferguson was elected governor, becoming the first female chief executive of Texas. 
That happened in 1924.

But the one we really thought about, back in the 1970s — when it felt so important to use that phrase "in her own right" for Ella Grasso — was Lurleen Wallace:
Lurleen Brigham Wallace (September 19, 1926 – May 7, 1968)... was the 46th governor of Alabama from 1967 until her death in 1968. She was the first wife of Alabama Governor George Corley Wallace....

The 1966 [gubernatorial election] results showed that George Wallace, strengthened at the time by his opposition to desegregation, could have easily won a second term had he been constitutionally eligible to do so. In Alabama (as in most southern states at the time), governors were not allowed to serve two consecutive terms...
When Wallace failed in 1965 to get the constitutional ban on his candidacy lifted, he devised a plan in which Mrs. Wallace would run for governor while he continued to exercise the authority of the office behind the scenes....

Oh, wait, that's the wrong picture.

So you see what I'm saying. Bill Clinton is term-limited out of the presidency. His wife, a woman who rose to prominence behind him — who even said "two for the price of one" like Ma Ferguson — now runs to reclaim the office for the twosome.

Some day, some other woman whose husband did not build the platform for her will get elected President and we will be able to say about her: She is the first woman to be elected President in her own right.

"'Rape is about power, not sex.' For those for whom it’s about power, those are the serial rapist guys, and they hate women and want to punish us."

"But I don’t think that’s in every case. I think good men can rape, and be sorry, and not do it again. This is very bad feminism."

Writes Rebecca Schoenkopf, in Wonkette, carrying on the venerable tradition of women making exceptions for Bill Clinton's sexual transgressions as she confesses to her own transgression — being a very bad feminist... or, ooh, not really... it was just this one time... I got carried away... Bill is so dreamy... he's not a bad man... he just does very bad things some times — just that one time! — I'm still a good girl — good feminist — I just engaged in very bad feminism that one time... and I'll never do it again... unless Bill needs me... oh, that Bill...

And this is why we can't have good feminism. Women — the majority of humanity — who could come together and demand respect and protection for our bodies are susceptible to getting peeled off individually by a man they feel powerfully drawn to and simply must make an exception for. He's not really bad. He said he was sorry and he'd never do it again. And there she is, the erstwhile feminist, mouthing the biggest domestic violence cliché in the world.

But it's not a cliché, not this time, because my guy is so special, mama. If you only knew his heart like I do.


There's a poll at Wonkette. The results look like this right now:

AND: To continue this theme of why we can't have good feminism: The woman who rose the highest is Hillary Clinton, and she did it by siding with the man, rejecting alliance with women. Staunch commitment to the sisterhood is not the winner's strategy. That is the lesson we're inscribing into American history as we create The Story of The First Woman President.

August 17, 2016

"That Trump knows he's gonna lose. All Trump is doing is setting up a future media empire to take on Fox News and CNN."

"This is the CNN theory. That when Trump loses the election, he's gonna have Steve Bannon and Ailes and they're gonna set up this brand-new news network to take everybody else out. They're gonna swamp Fox News. They're gonna swamp CNN. That's the CNN theory. I know some of the players here. I've not heard a word of that. I can't do thumbs up or thumbs down on it. I have no idea whether any of that has any truth to it, if there's any validity. I do know that CNN's off the rails on this. They're acting paranoid and they've got their conspiratorial hats on and they're dreaming and imagines things."

Said Rush Limbaugh on his show today. I'm trying to think about what's so paranoid about that theory. It makes a hell of a lot of sense to me.

Here's an article in RedState, "Looking Ahead: Trump, Ailes, Bannon And Hannity – News Network On The Horizon?":
With Trump bringing aboard Roger Ailes and Steve Bannon to the campaign, it is not out of the realm of possibility that long term plans include a cable news station....

Trump has been floating this for some time. He believes he's providing ratings for other outlets and not being able to collect on any of it. That would all change if he slapped his name on a news network. The best part for Trump is he wouldn't have to do any of the heavy lifting. Roger Ailes dismissal from Fox News gives Trump access to the man who created the most successful cable news station on the air....

There’s a reason Breitbart News went from hard-charging news outlet to drooling Trump mouthpiece. Bannon emerges from all of this unscathed. ... If Trump wins, he’s in a position of high power; if Trump loses, Bannon could head up a new media empire with Trump’s support and the involvement of new Trump supporter and ousted former Fox News head Roger Ailes.

"So where Freud once wrote that 'the type of female most frequently met with' tended to love narcissistically, we are now more likely to apply that characterization to men."

"'If there’s one thing a girl with a bad boyfriend has,' Dombek notes,' it’s the moral upper hand in the religion of mental health.' Here, she turns to the corner of the Internet she calls the 'narcisphere,' a collection of blogs and forums in which women, mostly, solidify a sense of their superior powers of empathy and raise their collective consciousness about surviving narcissism and about narcissism-induced P.T.S.D. 'If you are an especially giving person, warns the Internet, you are a prime target for narcissists,' Dombek writes. The narcisphere has a gendered inverse, which some call the manosphere and which is dedicated to teaching men how to dominate women by feigning self-confidence. This is the realm of pickup artistry. It is much worse than the narcisphere.... The story of the narcissist is, in part, a story of the people around him pleading for empathy, insisting that we should all care more about one another. And yet somehow this account of the world has become 'a story that divides us, by defining empathy as something we have and others lack,' Dombek writes. Perhaps in pathologizing narcissism, we have forgotten how perilous it is to constantly diagnose other people. In the end, what 'The Selfishness of Others' lays out most clearly is not the danger of narcissism but, rather, the danger of any particular world view that requires, for the sake of consistency, its owner to believe that she is good."

From "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DECIDE EVERYONE ELSE IS A NARCISSIST," a New Yorker article by Jia Tolentino about "An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism" by Kristin Dombek (in the book "The Selfishness of Others").

Olympic hair... why is this even a subject?

1. From "The Olympic Games: Time to Stop," by Mark Rippetoe in PJ Media:
... NBC Sports, the de facto owner of the Olympic Games, just doesn't include the “testosterone” sports in their coverage -- unless there is a severe injury that looks very bad on TV. Swimming is fine (no hairy men), all women's sports are fine (no hairy men), gymnastics, ditto (basically a children's sport), skiing is okay (hair doesn't show through lycra), and the equestrian events are just fine (horses are innocent even if hairy).
2. In The Daily Mail, "Why Olympic cyclists DON’T wax their bikini lines: Pubic hair protects against saddle soreness":
Pubic hair helps with the transport and evaporation of sweat away from the skin and also provides some friction protection. [And] hair removal methods, such as waxing, shaving, depilatory creams and epilation, damage the top layer of skin - the epidermis....

'But we knew that we had to try to persuade the girls to stop shaving and waxing if we were going to sort out the saddle pain we knew all of them were suffering with. 'At one point we were saying: 'Should we be buying the girls beard-trimmers?"'
3. And this is just one example of a category of article — "Fear of hair politics stopped me from being an athlete - luckily, it didn't stop Gabby Douglas":
My mom didn't have anything against natural hair. In fact, she wore an Afro into the early '80s. She did, however, know to follow the strictest of fashion rules for all well-groomed black girls, which clearly state that, without exception, the hairline (which, from this point, I'll refer to as edges) should be smooth and, if need be, brushed down and secured with plastic barrettes....

Last Tuesday, shortly after our Final Five took home the gold, Twitter was aflurry with criticism over Biles' and Douglas' hair. Douglas took the brunt of the nastiness - after all, wasn't this her second rodeo? Douglas should know better, especially because, during the 2012 Olympics, in which she took home two gold medals, the then-16-year-old got the same social-media finger-wagging because of her fuzzy edges....
It's one thing when the world knocks you down, but when your own people do - over this kind of ridiculousness - that's a special kind of hurt....

Why aren't people paying more attention to the terrible flooding in Louisiana?

Do you think it's the lack of a name?
“This is a historic flooding event,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday. “When you have a storm that is unnamed — it wasn’t a tropical storm, it wasn’t a hurricane — a lot of times people underestimate the impact that it would have....”
I don't:
The name "Katrina" got attached to what was mainly a flood, but I think the lack of attention isn't so much the lack of a name but the lack of a President people feel like attacking. But don't worry, sufferers of natural disasters, we're going to have one soon.

Asking for the black vote.

I noticed a meme yesterday: asking for the black vote.

Rick Perry — as a Trump proxy — was on Jake Tapper's show ("The Lead").

Tapper showed an old clip of Perry saying "For too long, we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote because we found we didn't need it to win. But when we gave up trying to win the support of African-Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln."

Asked if Trump need to pay attention to that "warning," Perry talked about how Trump's policies are actually better for African-Americans, and Tapper said, "But Hillary Clinton, whatever you think of her and her policies, she was in Philadelphia today reaching out directly to many in the African-American community."

When Perry continued with the idea that Trump's policies are better and wondered why African-Americans keep voting for Democrats, Tapper sledgehammered his idea: "Well, I guess the point I was making is because they're showing up and asking for their vote."

Perry seemed a little annoyed at the idea: "Is that all it takes? If just a Democrat shows up and asks for their vote, that is enough?" He proceeded to characterize the showing-up-and-asking idea as "denigrat[ing]" African-Americans, who, in his view, "want to see action."

But who knows? Maybe the key is asking for the vote. Trump did show up — later that day — near the scene of the unrest in Milwaukee. Last night, in West Bend, Wisconsin, Trump said: "I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different future."

I'm just observing notion that there are special words and that those words happen to have been said. But here's an excerpt from the transcript, if you want to see Trump's argument why black people should respond to his request:

"They're terrific people, they're winners, they're champs, and we need to win it."

Said Trump, talking like an imitation of himself as he explains bringing in Stephen Bannon as chief executive and making Kellyanne Conway (previously his pollster) his campaign manager. Bannon comes over from Breitbart — an iffy news organization that's been fawning over Trump. Paul Manafort is pushed back, and I read these changes to mean that Trump doesn't want to hear that he needs to change, which is something Trump is going ahead and saying outright:
"You know, I am who I am," he told a local Wisconsin television station Tuesday. "It's me. I don't want to change. Everyone talks about, 'Oh, well you're going to pivot, you're going to.' I don't want to pivot. I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you're not being honest with people."

August 16, 2016

Why didn't we take Iraq's oil?

Trump said it in his terrorism speech yesterday:
I have long said that we should have kept the oil in Iraq – another area where my judgement has been proven correct. According to CNN, ISIS made as much $500 million in oil sales in 2014 alone, fueling and funding its reign of terror. If we had controlled the oil, we could have prevented the rise of ISIS in Iraq – both by cutting off a major source of funding, and through the presence of U.S. forces necessary to safeguard the oil and other vital infrastructure. I was saying this constantly and to whoever would listen: keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil, I said – don’t let someone else get it.

If they had listened to me then, we would have had the economic benefits of the oil, which I wanted to use to help take care of the wounded soldiers and families of those who died – and thousands of lives would have been saved. This proposal, by its very nature, would have left soldiers in place to guard our assets. In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils. Instead, all we got from Iraq – and our adventures in the Middle East – was death, destruction and tremendous financial loss.
It sounds extreme — especially "to the victor belonged the spoils." The idea should be that the oil should cover the expenses of liberating and protecting the people of Iraq. Nearly everyone seems to have forgotten that the Bush administration talked about the Iraq invasion in these terms:
Ahead of and shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, a number of officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz suggested the war could be done on the cheap and that it would largely pay for itself. In October 2003, Rumsfeld told a press conference about President Bush's request for $21 billion for Iraq and Afghan reconstruction that "the $20 billion the president requested is not intended to cover all of Iraq's needs. The bulk of the funds for Iraq's reconstruction will come from Iraqis -- from oil revenues, recovered assets, international trade, direct foreign investment, as well as some contributions we've already received and hope to receive from the international community." In March 2003, Mr. Wolfowitz told Congress that "we're really dealing with a country that could finance its own reconstruction." In April 2003, the Pentagon said the war would cost about $2 billion a month, and in July of that year Rumsfeld increased that estimate to $4 billion.

"A Chicago-based communist revolutionary group blamed by Milwaukee's police chief for stoking a second day of violence said that some of its members did go there to 'support a revolution'..."

"... but didn't set out to cause trouble." The group called the civil disorder "righteous rebellion."
"This system sees police wantonly murdering people as part of the normal order of things," [said party co-founder Carl Dix]. But he added that people take issue with protests in response to those killings. His group advocates dismantling the police.

The Revolutionary Communist Party was founded in 1975, with a sharp focus on issues affecting black Americans. Dix repeatedly said party members are seeking to "dismantle" police and other government systems. The group is distinct from the Communist Party of the USA....

"If anybody wants to allege that our people were actually committing those acts, they should bring that to us. That wasn't what we went up there to do."



... planted by Meade from seeds sent to us by a reader a few years ago. Now we've got lots of these in the backyard.

Sean Hannity says the media "literally kiss Hillary's ass and Obama's ass every day."

What's really important here is: free polls

ADDED: If you think "literally" is wrong, maybe you don't understand sarcasm.

Donald Trump's plan to use the presidency to propound and enforce American ideology.

Here's the full transcript of Trump's speech on terrorism. I've edited it down, adding boldface, to highlight the battleground that is the human mind:
In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism....

We cannot let this evil continue. Nor can we let the hateful ideology of Radical Islam – its oppression of women, gays, children, and nonbelievers – be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries.

We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism.... Anyone who cannot condemn the hatred, oppression and violence of Radical Islam lacks the moral clarity to serve as our President....

In winning the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan repeatedly touted the superiority of freedom over communism, and called the USSR the Evil Empire. Yet, when President Obama delivered his address in Cairo [in 2009], no such moral courage could be found. Instead of condemning the oppression of women and gays in many Muslim nations, and the systematic violations of human rights, or the financing of global terrorism, President Obama tried to draw an equivalency between our human rights record and theirs....

Military, cyber and financial warfare will all be essential in dismantling Islamic terrorism. But we must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.

While my opponent accepted millions of dollars in Foundation donations from countries where being gay is an offense punishable by prison or death, my Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.

This includes speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings, where women are murdered by their relatives for dressing, marrying or acting in a way that violates fundamentalist teachings. Over 1,000 Pakistani girls are estimated to be the victims of honor killings by their relatives each year. Recently, a prominent Pakistani social media star was strangled to death by her brother on the charge of dishonoring the family. In his confession, the brother took pride in the murder and said: “Girls are born to stay home and follow traditions.”

Shockingly, this is a practice that has reached our own shores. One such case involves an Iraqi immigrant who was sentenced to 34 years in jail for running over his own daughter claiming she had become “too Westernized.” To defeat Islamic terrorism, we must also speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow....

A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people. In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.

In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law. Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas....

The Ft. Hood Shooter... proclaimed that “we love death more than you love life!” These warnings signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society.

That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam – which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with us. We want to build bridges and erase divisions. The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization. This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners....

But just like we couldn’t defeat communism without acknowledging that communism exists – or explaining its evils – we can’t defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism unless we do the same.

This also means we have to promote the exceptional virtues of our own way of life – and expecting that newcomers to our society do the same. Pride in our institutions, our history and our values should be taught by parents and teachers, and impressed upon all who join our society. Assimilation is not an act of hostility, but an expression of compassion. Our system of government, and our American culture, is the best in the world and will produce the best outcomes for all who adopt it.
This approach will not only make us safer, but bring us closer together as a country.

Renewing this spirit of Americanism will help heal the divisions in our country. It will do so by emphasizing what we have in common – not what pulls us apart.

This is my pledge to the American people: as your President I will be your greatest champion. I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people.

Olympic swimmer explains her performance: "It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired..."

"... but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough."

Fu Yuanhui (of China) is getting a lot of attention for straightforwardly stating a significant concrete fact about her body. It's a matter of great personal privacy, something women take pains to conceal, and it's so pervasively common that it's not really an interesting fact. When do we ever need to know?

By saying "but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough" Fu immediately revealed a key reason why athletes don't say it: It sounds like an excuse, and it's an excuse so many others could make, so why invade your own privacy?

When Michael Phelps failed to win his last individual race, the 100m butterfly, he didn't tell us about his substandard sleep last night or a recent unsatisfying bowel movement. He said to talk to the guy who won and "I’m happy right now" and other conventional good-sport remarks.

But menstruation is different. It's a big, shared but mostly secret experience for women, and hearing an Olympic athlete admit it was a burden, an added challenge, is heartening, perhaps. And don't we wonder, watching women compete: After training so hard, how awful to have your period the day of the event... that's got to be happening to some of them... but who?
Chinese sports fans used social media to praise Fu for breaking the silence surrounding the menstrual cycles of female athletes. Many said they had not realised it was possible for a woman to swim during her period. “Our Ms Fu dares to say anything,” wrote one user of Weibo, China’s Twitter.
Imagine thinking it's not even possible to swim when you have your period:
Eight decades after tampons first went on sale in the United States, a deep-rooted cultural resistance and inadequate sex education in China are blamed for the fact that only 2% of Chinese women use them, according to one recent study.

China’s first domestically produced tampon – named Crimson Jade Cool – is set to go on sale soon with the businessman behind the initiative planning to target sport centres for sales.
Quite aside from the cultural change of using tampons, there's the switch to free speech:
Mark Dreyer, who is tracking China’s Olympic fortunes on the China Sports Insider website , said Fu’s popularity pointed to a healthy shift away from China’s notorious obsession with “robotic” gold medal-winning athletes. “She’s probably got more name recognition at this point than any of [China’s gold medalists],” Dreyer said.

“People are more interested in the personality side of things and the individual side of things rather than, ‘Here are 50 Chinese robots who are winning for their country and for their Party’,” he added.
I love seeing the love for free speech. As that person on Chinese social media said: "Our Ms Fu dares to say anything."

"Apple, Microsoft, Google and other 'big tech' companies should not be placed in a position... of having to decide which words or emojis do and don’t represent their brand."

"Apple should be no more responsible if someone uses a gun image in the abstract than if someone happens to type the word 'gun.'"

Writes Harvard lawprof Jonathan Zittrain — in a NYT op-ed.

August 15, 2016

Let's assume that Trump is actually flexible enough to get out of the race while the getting is good.

He got out of Atlantic City at the right time, didn't he? He likes to win, and winning can be defined as getting out at a high point and not being there for the big loss. And — as the post title jogs you to think — Trump likes to be flexible. He believes in surprises.

So I'd like to assume that he'd consider the ploy of dropping out and letting someone else take the race to the finish line. The question I want to focus on is: Where is the high point? It's not right now, obviously. He shouldn't be bullied and humiliated out of the race. So where, down the road, can we see a high?

He should think about how to do the most damage to Hillary and then jumping out and making it irrelevant that he was the one who did the damage. Someone else — somebody clean — will be slotted in, and then how can Hillary fight back? She'll have to redo everything and deal with this new person, this Mr. Clean — maybe Pence, but how about Scott Walker? Pick someone hard to attack, someone who'll look just completely normal. That would flummox her after she'd premised so much of her campaign on the idea that she's normal compared to Trump and normal is what we want. If not Trump was so desirable in August, then not Hillary (and not Trump) could be the relief we're all dying for by October.

I'd say he should stay in through at least the first debate. Only he will know that he's planning or considering dropping out. She will waste effort attacking him, her ultimate non-opponent. And he can be as cruel as he thinks could be effective — and as showy and outrageous as will serve his interest going forward in his media career. He's been attacking the media, but he is media, and he will be media in the future (unless he's stuck being President, slogging away in that humble abode, the White House, and getting brutalized by absolutely everyone for 4 years).

What freedom he has right now! What power! 

"An earlier version of this article erroneously connected the epithet 'libtard' with the radio host Rush Limbaugh."

The New Yorker makes a correction and acknowledges its error, which I called attention to a few days ago in a post titled "Whatever happened to The New Yorker's pride in meticulous fact-checking?!"

“He didn’t do it with a sense of humor... He did it, like, ‘I’m fucking rich.’ ”

How Jared Kushner — Kushner is Ivanka Trump's husband — drove his Range Rover around the Harvard campus when he was a student, according to "one classmate" quoted in "IVANKA AND JARED’S POWER PLAY/How the patrician couple came to have an outsized influence on a populist Presidential campaign" by Lizzie Widdicombe in The New Yorker.

I'm assuming "He didn’t do it with a sense of humor... He did it, like, ‘I’m fucking rich'" refers only to the way he drove his Range Rover, but it might also relate to the previous sentence: "On a campus full of T-shirts and cargo shorts, he wore dress shirts and jeans from the then trendy label 7 for All Mankind."

I'm trying to think about what it might mean to wear a button-up shirt rather than a T-shirt and jeans rather than cargo shorts in a way that could be thought of as speaking to onlookers and possibly being funny but also possibly being assholian. I'm thinking the perception would be in the mind of the beholder, the unnamed classmate.

The same goes for driving an expensive car. What possesses you that you would decide that a person driving a car is doing it not with a sense of humor but as a way to say I'm fucking rich? And by you, I mean the you that got into Harvard, so you must be pretty smart, eh?

But I can understand letting your jealousy show when some fellow student has an expensive car. It's quite something else to take a guy to task for wearing blue jeans when other guys are wearing cargo shorts. Ooh, he he thinks he so great... cargo shorts not good enough for him.... he's wearing jeans! And what's a "dress shirt" — just something that buttons up the front and has a collar and cuffs? It's not as if he went to class dressed like the Monopoly Man.

At the Dog-Under-the-Table Café...


... catch the falling tidbits.

Who is Hillary like?

Drudge says she's emulating Trump, but Maureen Dowd says Hillary — and not Trump — is carrying on the George W. Bush tradition:
All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old.

They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.... 

"What possesses people to make them think they could be President?"

A surprising post from 6 years ago that I happened to trip over this morning:

Irene's comment took me a while to process. I had to reorient my mind. It's a reference to Obama.

Trump really was talking about running for President, and the first commenter, Scott M, answering my question, says: "Narcissism." Other comments include "Scott nailed it," "Scott's right." And then there's lyssalovelyredhead, who said:
Am I the only one who would seriously consider voting for the Donald? Sure, he's an attention whore and narcissist, but he is also a man who Knows How The World Works. Unlike most politicians (even conservatives, see, e.g., GWB), he doesn't have silly notions about being nice to people and having them be nice in return. He undestands incentives.

We need more of that.
Trump was talking about running in the 2012 election, and back in 2011, Sarah Palin was considered a front-runner. Trump's talk of taking her on, was not like his talk of taking on Princess Diana. (Speaking of "nailed.") He meant he'd run against her for President. He said: "She's very interesting. And don't underestimate her."

Trump was also saying: "I'm looking at this country ... and what's happened in terms of respect, and the respect for this country is just not there... I have many people from China that I do business with, they laugh at us. They feel we're fools. And almost being led by fools. And they can't believe what they're getting away with."

Oh, we are fools. Fools almost being led by fools. That's not going to stop. There's no possible way. Unless somebody is actually evil. But I don't believe in the devil. I believe in stupidity.

Point: "The writhing form of his beloved under his touch requires concentration and dedication, sensitivity to her needs, humility in face of her beauty..."

"... vulnerability to receive what is given in the form of delight, endurance (both physical and mental), thoughtfulness, practice, anticipation, perseverance, humor, tact, joy, laughter, courage, patience and communication, just to name a few."

Counterpoint: "Mr. Williams, stop having sex with your wife for a moment and see if she’s all right. That’s not usually how sex works.... Can Joe Schmoe and his wife really only refrain from quarrels and take turns doing the dishes if the sex is excellent and plentiful? Well, how did Joe and Mrs. Schmoe meet in the first place? What qualities was Mrs. Schmoe drawn to in her future spouse? Not generosity or forgiveness or industry, apparently, because Williams claims we learn those from sexual intercourse."

ADDED: I got distracted from all that sex onto the question of how to spell Schmoe. I would have thought Schmo, which was, after all, the spelling used for the old "Joe Schmo Show" (remember I used to blog that?). I'm pleased to see that Wikipedia has an entry for "Joe Shmoe" (notice: that's a third spelling):
Joe Shmoe (also spelled Joe Schmoe and Joe Schmo and "Yo Hschmo"), meaning 'Joe Anybody', or no one in particular, is one of the most commonly used fictional names in American English. Adding a "Shm" to the beginning of a word is meant to diminish, negate, or dismiss an argument (for instance, "Rain, shmain, we've got a game to play"). This process was adapted in English from the use of the "schm" prefix in Yiddish to dismiss something; as in, "Fancy, schmancy." While "schmo" ("schmoo," "schmoe") was thought by some linguists to be a clipping of Yiddish "schmuck", an etymology supported by the Oxford English Dictionary, that derivation is not universally accepted.
What are the other commonly used fictional names in American English? Wikipedia lists and has separate articles for Joe Bloggs, John Doe, John Q. Public, and Average Joe. What about Joe Blow? He's mentioned in the entry for John Q. Public:
Similar terms include John Q. Citizen and John Q. Taxpayer, or Jane Q. Public, Jane Q. Citizen, and Jane Q. Taxpayer for a woman. The name John Doe is used in a similar manner. The term Tom, Dick and Harry is often used to denote multiple hypothetical persons.

Roughly equivalent are the names Joe Blow, Joe Six-pack, the nowadays less popular Joe Doakes and Joe Shmoe, the last of which implies a lower-class citizen....
The last of which? Like  Joe Blow and Joe Six-pack are swanky fellows.

And here's "Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.," by Edgar Allan Poe. Excerpt:
"My dear Thingum," replied father, (I had been christened Thingum after a wealthy relative so surnamed,) "My dear Thingum," he said, raising me from my knees by the ears- "Thingum, my boy, you're a trump, and take after your father in having a soul. You have an immense head, too, and it must hold a great many brains. This I have long seen, and therefore had thoughts of making you a lawyer. The business, however, has grown ungenteel and that of a politician don't pay. Upon the whole you judge wisely;- the trade of editor is best:- and if you can be a poet at the same time,- as most of the editors are, by the by, why, you will kill two birds with the one stone. To encourage you in the beginning of things, I will allow you a garret, pen, ink, and paper, a rhyming dictionary; and a copy of the 'Gad-Fly.' I suppose you would scarcely demand any more."
Thingum, my boy, you're a trump...

Trump! Got to get back to my regular blogging. Or do I? We could go down the rathole forever.... into the dark, devilish, spidery doom of the internet.

"I don't believe in the devil. I believe in stupidity."

Said Werner Herzog — on the new episode of WTF with Marc Maron. Yes! Herzog and Maron! That was great to wake up to on Monday morning. Herzog has a new movie. It made Marc Maron dream about spiders, causing Herzog to relay his own dream — he only dreams once a year — about being told to renounce the devil.

ADDED: Here's the trailer for the new movie, the one that made Maron feel doomed. It's about the internet — which isn't evil, just stupid, per Herzog — "Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World":

"Have the monks stopped meditating? They all seem to be tweeting."

Corner — green, center — red, edge — blue.

"This restaurant labels their brownies based on what part of the pan it was baked on."

Via Reddit, via New York Magazine ("The move is downright ingenious. Gooey’s your thing? Great, go red. If it’s crunchy, go green, and if it’s a little of both, you grab blue. Everyone wins.")

"My dessert in the middle of the night was the idea for which I will win the Nobel Prize. I invented this."

"I took a lot of blueberries, like four big containers (this one is expensive), rinsed them off and then put way, way, way too much cayenne pepper on them. Way too much. Lots. I shook that around and then added way too much cocoa powder, no fat, no sugar. It’s like a Mexican flourless chocolate blueberry cake. It’s my favorite food. I went to bed with my mouth on fire and my belly full."

From "Penn Jillette Thinks Watermelon Is Magic."

August 14, 2016

At the 2-Sides Café...


... there are 2 sides to every question.

"And I think it is insane to elect 70-year-olds to a job that requires so much energy and mental agility."

"You wouldn’t hire a 70-year-old for any other type of job that they had never held."

“What are we gonna do now? Everyone playing their part in this city, blaming the white guy or whatever, and we know what they’re doing."

"Like, already I feel like they should have never OK'd guns in Wisconsin. They already know what our black youth was doing anyway. These young kids gotta realize this is all a game with them. Like they’re playing Monopoly. You young kids falling into their world, what they want you to do. Everything you do is programmed. I had to blame myself for a lot of things too because your hero is your dad and I played a very big part in my family’s role model for them. Being on the street, doing things of the street life: Entertaining, drug dealing and pimping and they’re looking at their dad like 'he’s doing all these things.' I got out of jail two months ago, but I’ve been going back and forth in jail and they see those things so I’d like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to. When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get. They got us killing each other and when they even OK'd them pistols and they OK'd a reason to kill us too. Now somebody got killed reaching for his wallet, but now they can say he got a gun on him and they reached for it. And that’s justifiable. When we allowed them to say guns is good and it’s legal, we can bear arms. This is not the wild, wild west y’all. But when you go down to 25th and center, you see guys with guns hanging out this long, that’s ridiculous, and they’re allowing them to do this and the police know half of them don’t have a license to carry a gun. I don’t know when we’re gonna start moving. I’ve gotta start with my kids and we gotta change our ways, to be better role models. And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them. They targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault. You play a part in it. If you know there’s a reason, don’t give in to the hand, don’t be going around with big guns, don’t be going around shooting each other and letting them shoot y’all cause that’s just what they’re doing and they’re out to destroy us and we’re falling for it."

Said Patrick Smith, Sylville Smith's father.

Sylville Smith is the 23-year-old man shot dead last night in Milwaukee, touching off rioting. The police officer who shot him, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, was also a black man, according to Police Chief Edward Flynn, who has seen the body camera video.
"I mean, there was virtually no time between the officer unhooking his seat belt, turning on his body camera, getting out of the car and immediately he was in a foot chase. That foot chase went maybe a few dozen feet before he encountered this individual in a fenced yard," Flynn said. "The individual was armed. The individual did turn toward the officer with the firearm in his hand. You can't tell when the officer discharges his firearm."...

Flynn said... that based on the video, the officer faced a credible threat. He said Smith did not comply with an officer's command to drop his gun. There is no indication that Smith fired a shot. "It (the gun) was in his (Smith's) hand. He was raising up with it."

"I was looking at a butterfly today and thinking: Why do we love these things more than a flying cockroach?"

"What if the cockroach had really large wings? No, that would make it even more disgusting! What if the very large wings had some pretty colors? Oh, then we would love it! Or... not. What do you think? A butterfly-looking insect that nested inside the walls and flew around indoors and left teeny tiny turds on the counter... we'd hate that too, right? Why do indoorsy insects look so drab? So we don't kill them. What an impossible evolutionary road it would be to tart up sufficiently that we'd refrain from smushing them. Drab is the way to go, for the lowly cockroach. And come to think of it, refrain from flying. That will only activate your antagonists."

A meditation, posted by me, at Facebook, a propos of a news story, "It's So Hot Out Cockroaches Might Start Flying in NYC/All American cockroaches have wings and the ability to take flight, but don't typically do so unless they're in humid climates."


Trump's media bait of the day: The media is crooked!

Here's his series of tweets today, which I'm not going to embed separately because there are so many and embedded tweets slow down the loading. The reason to embed tweets is to propagate them by making them easy to retweet, but just go to his Twitter feed, here. I'm putting the tweets in the order they appeared:

1. "The failing @nytimes talks about anonymous sources and meetings that never happened. Their reporting is fiction. The media protects Hillary!"

2. "The failing @nytimes, which never spoke to me, keeps saying that I am saying to advisers that I will change. False, I am who I am — never said"

3. "If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%"

4. "My rallies are not covered properly by the media. They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm."

5. "Crooked Hillary Clinton is being protected by the media. She is not a talented person or politician. The dishonest media refuses to expose!"

6. "I am not only fighting Crooked Hillary, I am fighting the dishonest and corrupt media and her government protection process. People get it!"

7. "It is not 'freedom of the press' when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!"

This is a good issue, and he's right that the media are unfair to him and trying to help Hillary. #1 contains an assertion about "meetings" — reported by the NYT here — that never happened. I don't know who's right about that. The NYT says that right after Trump fired Corey Lewandowski as his campaign manager, there was "an intervention":
Joined by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, a cluster of Mr. Trump’s confidants pleaded with him to make that day — June 20 — a turning point. He would have to stick to a teleprompter and end his freestyle digressions and insults, like his repeated attacks on a Hispanic federal judge....  Mr. Trump bowed to his team’s entreaties, according to four people with detailed knowledge of the meeting, who described it on the condition of anonymity. It was time, he agreed, to get on track.
The Times goes on to say that Trump failed to change, his advisers now think "he may be beyond coaching," and that he's become "sullen and erratic" in private, mouthing off about the media. So that seems to have set this series of tweets in motion, with the first one calling the NYT story "fiction."

The second tweet also refutes that NYT story, specifically the assertion that "he agreed" to change his ways. Who knows what the truth is? Maybe his family and advisers talk to him all the time about ways to improve and he listens and is his own man, deciding ultimately what to do. If so, there's no big "intervention"-style meeting or momentous agreement to change, but there is perhaps enough material that the Times reporters think they can entertain and reassure their readers in the colorful fashion seen in the article.

The first 4 tweets went up in rapid succession, 9 hours ago. The first 2 were prompted by that NYT piece. ##3 and 4 branched out to media in general. ##5, 6, and 7 came in a burst 4 hours later. Why return to this subject? What's new seems to be a need to forefront "Crooked Hillary" — in ##5 and 6. And #7 tops off a day of attacking the press by anticipating the defense of freedom of the press.

#7 is troublesome. Freedom of the press does largely mean the press is "allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false." At some point, there is libel law, but a public figure like Trump has to show more than just that the statement is completely false. And I am reminded of how Trump has said that he wants  to "open up" libel law — something I wrote a very long post about last March. He was confronted by a Washington Post editor, Fred Hiatt:
HIATT: But just – given the Supreme Court rulings on libel — Sullivan v. New York Times — how would you change the law?

TRUMP: I would just loosen them up.
Asked what does that mean, he said: "I’d have to get my lawyers in to tell you, but I would loosen them up. I would loosen them up." It didn't get any clearer, I'll just say now. The old post is so detailed, and I don't have the strength to go through it again. I only want to say that Trump is weak on freedom of speech. He's a presidential candidate! He's going to be batted around in the press, and it's going to be unfair and unbalanced and full of problems and mistakes. It will only get worse if he becomes President. There's some value to critiquing the press, but at some point it's too much. He comes across as thin-skinned and distracted. Or maybe just too tweety.

So I'm wary about #7 and it got me thinking about a problem I had with him last March, but Trump succeeded in making media bias the issue of the day. I don't think it will help him get any better press, but maybe the press will pay a little more attention to Hillary's many problems and maybe some people will be a little more skeptical of press reports — even though plenty of people will feel more inclined to think of Trump as narcissistic and petty.